Discovering Our Amazing God Bible curriculum is Book One in the Discovery Series and consists of two spiral bound soft cover books: a Teacher’s Guide and a Student Workbook. The Teacher’s Guide includes 226 pages, while the Student Workbook includes 213 pages of necessary course material and blank “Reflections” pages for journaling and/or note taking. Designed for 7th, 8th, or 9th grade, the course will take one semester to complete. The books begin with information on the authors and illustrators, an introduction to the curriculum overall, and then the Teacher’s Guide includes more specific instructions and encouragement for use of the information on the Unreached People Groups. Each lesson begins with an Unreached People group profile that is fairly broad in scope as this is the first book in the series. Later books in the series focus on more specific Unreached People Groups. Included people groups are those in the 10-40 window, Muslims, Hindus, Chinese, Secular, Buddhist, Tribal, and our own Neighbors. The lesson then moves to the scripture reading, pertinent activities and/or discussions, writing assignments and/or questions and answers, and memory challenges. The required days to complete each lesson range from ten to fourteen, with only one day necessary for the Introductory lesson or the Summary lesson, which is one day of review. There are a total of ten lessons including the short Introductory Lesson. A broad range of various miscellaneous items are called for including: a prism, the Veggie Tales “Esther” movie, Bible costumes or puppets, a classical music CD, food for a Passover Seder, and more. Field trips are a part of the curriculum and options for accomplishing adequate outings are offered. Reviews and Tests are given various objectives and the teacher is strongly encouraged to complete the assigned reviews and tests, even though repetitive, since repetition is important. The Teacher’s Guide includes necessary printables in the Appendix and memory verses are included at the end of each lesson, rather than the back of the book. Memory verses are purposely left out of the Student workbook to encourage increased Bible knowledge by having the students consistently look up the scripture text. The course covers the following attributes of Our Amazing God: Wisdom, Power, Creativity, Love, Holiness, Faithfulness, Justice, and Mercy.
The Teacher’s Guide pages follow the Student Text and have additional Teacher’s notes in shaded boxes throughout the curriculum along with necessary answers. Much of the coursework requires a judgment call on the part of the teacher as to whether the student is truly grasping the material; various answers will be acceptable and may be different among students. The Daily Plan is set up as such, a plan, and the instructions continue with the plan on a “day 1,” “day 2,” “day 3” basis, but it is to be used as an outline only. The Unreached Peoples portion includes general historical information that sets a good frame of reference for students to understand more about each particular group. A pencil drawn rendering of a person from the particular people group is included and offers some personalization to each group as a student can imagine a real person because of the picture. The scripture memory verses are completely listed in the Teacher’s Guide in both New International Version and King James Version and a calendar plan for Memory Challenge Reviews is included at the start of the Guide. Beginning with information about the authors and an introduction to the study, both books include the same information with the Teacher’s Guide containing additional notes specific to the teacher. The Student Instructions are to read from scripture, then answer questions through each lesson. The Student Workbooks are consumable and will serve as both a record of the coursework and available reference in the future as the student continues their walk with God. Written by homeschool veterans, the program is ideally used by parent and student together and will be adaptable for any homeschool teaching style. Considering the use of the Student Workbook, those most comfortable with textbooks will enjoy the program, but the inclusion of the Unreached Peoples portion of the study leaves real possibility for unit study students to enjoy the coursework and enhance it seamlessly.
The Discovery Series is a wonderful combination of Bible study with missions education ideal for grades seven through nine, but very adaptable for some younger students. Consistently, the instruction is for the parent to offer guidance according to the specific needs of their child rather than stringently following the Teacher’s Guide. The subject matter includes emotions--including Jesus’ emotions, the story of Jacob and Rachel, God’s love, Abram, Jesus and the Pharisees, and more. The Teacher’s Guide offers helpful ideas about memory verses, review work, writing opportunities, and writing standards and is encouraging toward parent teachers. Broad research opportunities, in reports and other assignments, offer various subject matter education including geography, science, history, and more. Care in particular is taken, for example when Leviathan is referenced. It is not defined as a particular animal, it is used as an example of the greatness of God alone. This allows parents to approach the subject of dinosaurs if they choose, or continue with the focus at hand on the power of God. The focus on scripture and the blatant absence of memory verses from the Student Workbook is appreciated by our family as we agree with the authors of the curriculum that familiarity with one‘s Bible is essential. The missions emphasis is evident and often lacking from other Bible curriculum; it provides a wonderful springboard to furthering education about missionary work. More information regarding missions is available on the website, www.DeeperRoots.com, as the authors are seasoned missionaries who continue to be active in mission work. The website also includes free PDF versions of portions of their curriculum offerings. The opportunities for writing assignments in the course also provide educational value while offering insight into the lives of our children.
I found having lessons marked by “day 1” and “day 2” was a bit limiting, as we prefer to work further at times, and occasionally work in smaller portions, but having the framework offered a good plan, if desired. The differences in number of days required for each lesson was disheartening, sometimes ten days, other times fourteen. I found myself wishing they had consistently planned for the same number of days. The spiral Student Workbook is ideal for students working in any environment as the book is able to flip back onto itself, and for a family with multiple children, as much as we hate consumables, this is one time we really appreciated the existence of a consumable workbook. Time should be allotted for student’s new to Bible reference work to find the various scripture verses, with full encouragement and assistance, if necessary. The instructions, at times, call for avoiding marking off points for minor spelling or punctuation errors, as the goal is clear and practical understanding of the scripture. We disagree with this mindset as homeschoolers fully understand the need to combine educational value in every lesson, therefore we could not ignore educational mistakes in an effort to focus on the spiritual rather than cognitive portion of teaching; in our home they are inexplicably entwined. I do understand the encouragement to focus on the value of scripture as a goal, but with careful and prayerful teaching on the part of parents, we believe both can be accomplished together. “Writing Scoreboards” are included with grading percentages that will need to be adjusted if you choose to grade differently, but allow guidance, if desired. The repeated instructions for use of a billboard is cause for improvisation with a family room wall or other option, but this is not new to homeschoolers. Current cultural references like Pokemon and Harry Potter are included, but are presented in carefully worded comments regarding our fascination with power. Comments on saying “I love you” to a boyfriend or girlfriend were unnecessary in our view, particularly for this impressionable age group, as they need no encouragement toward young relationships. Parents will want to be sure to review each lesson, as instructed, before approaching any subject area with their children. Overall, care is taken in presenting a program that will not be offensive to any family, but due diligence is always best.
Our family finds the Discovery Series, Discovering Our Amazing God is an excellent Bible based curriculum ideal for students in every homeschool. Any type of learner will gain knowledge from the program as our Bible is the heart of our education as Christians, regardless of learning style. The reflective thought assignments lead students to consider God’s creation, His part in their lives, and their relationship to God and His plans. The course has the ability to offer a full two years of Bible study for students while in grades seven through nine when using all four components. The Teacher’s Guide offers notes right on the pages where they are needed, allowing parents to focus on the subject matter rather than additional planning time. There are some additional supplies required to fully implement the program, but the course includes references for obtaining supplies or utilizing substitutes. The Bibliography includes books referenced in the program and the media requested, some of which is available at the www.deeperroots.com website. As veteran homeschool parents and missionaries, the authors bring a wealth of knowledge and a rarely found viewpoint of mission work that our homeschools need to be teaching to our children. The regular exposure to Unreached People groups offers a glimpse into parts of our world rarely exposed in traditional schooling environments. Discovering Our Amazing God is a tremendous part of growing up and any quality education, being a part of that education is essential as Christian parents. This curriculum offers a solid Bible study with missions information teaching your children firmly in their faith and rightly in their call to the great commission.
—Product review by: Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2008.
Editor Note: The following reviews are of older versions, but still give a good overview of the program.
This is the first volume of a course written for 7th to 9th graders. This is a really wonderful course, and something that I personally have been looking for, for a long time! This study is not written for brand new believers, it is specifically written, as the author states, to take the junior high student beyond the facts of the Bible stories to the serious challenge of getting better acquainted with God. Who is He? What is He like?
There are hands on exercises, videos and field trips. The authors have also added a different dimension by using less well-known Bible stories, as most junior high students have already heard the better-known stories. This study is very in depth, there are questions to answer, memory challenges, reviews, and tests. There is also a very clear missionary emphasis, as there is a people group studied along with each lesson. The artwork is wonderful!! There are detailed sketches of people from the different people groups, as well as delightful cartoons throughout the books. There are writing opportunities and journaling opportunities.
This is NOT just a sit, read and repeat facts study. It appears easy enough at first, but by the end of the first lesson, the students are really having to think and really challenge themselves. For example, on Day six of lesson 1 there is a writing opportunity where the student is asked to read several proverbs and choose the one he/she likes best and write a creative story which illustrates the wisdom of the proverb. There is class time allotted to the writing, but this is also very easy to integrate into your homeschool day by using the writing projects for English class. There is no instruction on HOW to write a paper, or a story, that is assumed to be taught in another part of your day, but the lessons in this study will challenge and hopefully motivate your student to really discover who God is.
Each lesson is about discovering some aspect of God such as God's Love, God's Creativity, God's Power, God's faithfulness, God's justice, and more. The course is designed to take one semester to complete, but is very easy to extend if you need to. The study I reviewed is the home School Edition, but there is also an edition for Sunday school, or Bible Class. This is an extremely well written study, which will draw your student into a deeper relationship with Christ and at the same time show him/her some of God's heart for the unreached people of the world.
There is a teacher's guide and a student workbook available, and in my opinion, the teacher's guide is necessary. It helps you follow along with your student, and there are lots of different helps and suggestions throughout. The price is quite affordable. Check out the website at www.deeperroots.com If you are looking for a complete, thorough Bible study, you won't go wrong here!